Brick + Mortar: Art Gallery Design Studio

Brick + Mortar: Art Gallery Design Studio

Step inside the first floor of the historic Easton Dollar Savings & Trust building – a beautiful three-story stone structure located at 8 Centre Square – and you may suddenly feel as if you’ve been transported into Manhattan’s Soho art scene. The high white walls display an assortment of eye-catching paintings and artistic creations, while the wide-open, refreshingly airy feel of the room invites you to relax, browse and take it all in.

The place is Brick + Mortar Art Gallery Design Studio – an innovative new space owned by Tom D’Angelo and Chaz Hampton, two local artists with longstanding ties to the Lehigh Valley. Since launching their inaugural exhibit entitled “Foundations” on May 30th, the gallery has quickly established itself as a prominent part of Easton’s vibrant arts community.

“There seems to be a bit of a resurgence going on in Easton right now, so when the space opened up in Centre Square it seemed like a great fit,” explained D’Angelo. “Plus, Chaz and I both had ties to Easton because we exhibited here before.”

Prior to opening Brick + Mortar, D’Angelo lived in Easton and ran a small pop-up gallery out of his garage on North Sitgreaves Street. Called “Our Garage Space”, the gallery hosted exhibits from 2010 to 2014 and showcased many Lehigh Valley artists. It was during this time that D’Angelo met Hampton, who lives in Bethlehem.

“Chaz and I became friends because of that experience and we went on to share a studio space together,” said D’Angelo. It was from there that the idea for Brick + Mortar emerged.

Featuring a main gallery in the front and a smaller gallery towards the back, Brick + Mortar introduces a new exhibit approximately every six weeks. Their first show featured the work of 13 artists, while their second presented two solo exhibits: “The Unusual World of Marta Whistler” and “Equilibria – recent works by Adriano Farinella”. A third show will be on display in early September.

“For each new show we hold an opening reception, which generally involves serving light food and drinks and sometimes having a band play,” said D’Angelo. “So far, we’ve had a really good response from the public. Our first opening had about 500 people in attendance, and our second had about 300 people. In addition to that, we also get a lot of foot traffic because people who were just passing by will decide to stop in when they see the lights on and the art hanging on the walls.”

Both D’Angelo and Hampton, who describe themselves as contemporary artists, work out of studios in the back of the building. According to D’Angelo, Hampton’s artistic style tends to deal with “object history”, which often involves sourcing old materials from salvage yards and then manipulating them in a creative way. “He really focuses on the wear and tear of objects,” explained D’Angelo. “He’s abstract, collage and assemblage with a little bit of street art and folk art. He’s got a lot of cultural slang.”

D’Angelo, who creates a lot of abstract paintings, also enjoys working with found materials, particularly wood. “I’ve always tended to work with plywood and other different woods that I recovered,” he said. “I’m more of a process artist than anything. I get into a certain groove and let spontaneity take over.”

While D’Angelo and Hampton often display the work of local artists, the pair is also reaching out to talent in Philadelphia, New York and beyond. This helps introduce fresh, new material to the Lehigh Valley art scene and provides for a greater diversity in available work.

“Everything that we exhibit is for sale,” said D’Angelo. “All of the pieces from all the different artists.”

In addition to the fine art pieces that they show, D’Angelo and Hampton also do work on commission. This includes creating murals, custom furniture, signage for restaurants and other businesses, trade booths, branding and marketing art, and more.

“If you need assistance in any aspect of art of design, stop by and we can help,” said D’Angelo.

Brick + Mortar is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. or by appointment. For more information about the gallery, studio or design services, please visit their website at or call them at 610.829.1360.

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